Letters to the Editor
Vail Daily, Vail Colorado CO
Kudos to Vail
The article on the Town of Vail’s proposals for new development and related employee housing that will be required highlights the problems that are arising up and down the Eagle Valley. Increasingly, we are seeing that businesses are not able to fully staff their operations because of shortages of employee or attainable housing.
So I see it as an issue of utmost importance to provide ways for employees in the Eagle Valley to live near work.
What is needed are reasonable solutions. As the article described, the Town of Vail has pushed for set percentages of employee housing to be provided through residential (30 percent) or commercial (20 percent) developments. This is a very reasonable, although slightly minimal, idea to me because it requires the developer to address the impacts of the development.
Part of the argument against this goes to historical development patterns, which are in the past and should be left there. It might not seem fair, but we must move to address those inequities as they will continue to worsen if we continue to ignore them.
There were other solutions mentioned by the developers that were included in the article. One idea was to relax the building standards for affordable housing, but this will defeat the purpose of affordable housing. If the building standards are relaxed, one or all of the following will be compromised ” durability, energy efficiency, and safety. In each case, the long-term costs of the residence will increase in some manner (maintenance costs, utility costs, and human suffering). While being a decent idea, this really doesn’t hold any credibility.
Another suggestion was collaboration. This is absolutely necessary, but is not the panacea to this problem. If workers are continually pushed out of the towns that they work in, finding and retaining employees will become increasingly difficult, and other costs will rise. One example of the other costs is the increased employee commutes, which will lead to increased road maintenance and transit costs. For these reasons, being able to keep employees living in Vail is beneficial. Part of the reason that we live in this valley is because it is a special place. One reason for this is the tight-knit communities, although there is a downside to this. Unlike metropolitan areas, there is a limited workforce that must be fostered to keep the economy running.
Developers are in a great position to be part of the solution, thanks to their knowledge and ability. It appears that the Town of Vail has realized this and is taking a step in the right direction.
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